Release Stress with Yoga
Posted On April 2, 2019
Stress, we have all experienced at one time or another in our lives. Those we love have suffered from it, those we work with and those who pass us by on the streets. Did you know that 80 to 90 % of visits to the doctor are stress-related? but only less than 3% of doctors talk to their patients about how to reduce stress!
I guess it is something we can not run from nor are immune to it, however there are ways to help our minds and body cope with and even release the effects it can have on us. When you are stressed, tension is stored in the body making you feel tight and often causing pain. Tension can be explained as a constriction of tissue, reducing range of motion and even creating soreness. But there is a way to release that tension! How you might ask, well my dear friend through a practice called Yoga and meditation.
Yoga has been known to be a great antidote to stress by using different poses or stretches – which lengthens and releases the tissue, reducing and even eradicating the tension. Yoga can help us develop awareness of how our own unique mind works and that awareness can help us live in a more conscious way. By developing awareness over our mind pattern in response to stress, we give ourselves the opportunity to be less affected by it, and to consciously choose another response. ‘I am calm, all is well’.
Yoga practiced in the right way can be as soothing as a hug or a massage when it comes to reducing tension and relaxing the physical body. Meditation is an incredibly powerful tool for relaxing and slowing down the mind as is any kind of breath awareness, holding a yoga pose, flowing through a yoga sequence, or in a seated meditation pose.
Yoga – a mind-body practice – that brings together physical and mental disciplines that may help you to achieve peacefulness of the body and mind.
Yoga has many styles, forms and intensity. Hatha yoga, in particular, may be a good choice for stress management. Hatha is one of the most common styles of yoga, and beginners may like its slower pace and easier movements. But most people can benefit from any style of yoga – it is all about your personal preferences. Pick one that meets your level of physical fitness and personality.
The core components of Hatha yoga and most general yoga classes are:
Poses: Yoga poses, also called postures, are a series of movements designed to increase strength and flexibility. Poses range from lying on the floor while completely relaxed to difficult postures that may have you breathing into your physical limits.
Breathing (Pranayama): Controlling your breathing is an important part of yoga and one that translates well to life off the mat. Yoga teaches that controlling your breathing can help you control your body and quiet your mind. Stress and tension can cause us to breathe in a rapid, shallow way, which can lead to more anxiety.
Meditation or relaxation: Each yoga session ends with five to ten minutes spent relaxing in corpse pose – savasana. It serves the purpose of total release for both body and mind. Savasana transitions you back into the world feeling refreshed and equipped with the tools to combat stress in your daily life.
When the mind and body are connected, there’s generally a greater sense of harmony and ease in our lives. The body sends important signals when something is off balance, which happens so often when we are under pressure. Having the ability to respond is therefore really important of our well being.
Yoga teaches us to be sensitive to each movement and to listen to our bodies. The practice encourages us to exist in the present moment and to live in a more mindful, conscious and connected way.
Health Benefits of Yoga
The potential health benefits of Yoga include:
- Stress reduction: A number of studies have shown that yoga may help reduce stress and anxiety. It can also enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being.
- Improved Fitness: Practicing yoga may lead to improved balance, flexibility, range of motion and strength.
- Management of Chronic conditions: Yoga can help reduce the risk factor for chronic diseases, such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Yoga might also help alleviate chronic conditions, such as depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia.
Yoga is generally considered safe for most healthy people when practiced under the guidance of a trained instructor. But there are some situations in which yoga might pose a risk.
See your health care provider before you begin yoga if you have any of the following conditions or situations:
- A herniated disk
- A risk of blood clots
- Eye conditions, including glaucoma
- Pregnancy – although yoga is generally safe for pregnant women, certain poses should be avoided
- Severe balance problems
- Severe osteoporosis
- Uncontrolled blood pressure
You may be able to practice yoga in these situations if you take certain precautions, such as avoiding certain poses or stretches. If you develop symptoms, such as pain or have concerns, see your doctor to make sure you’re getting benefit and not harm from yoga.
Every person has a different body with different abilities with this you may need to modify your yoga postures based on your individual abilitie. Your instructor may be able to suggest modified poses or if you are using an app on your phone, regardless of which type of yoga you decide to practice, you do not have to do every pose. Start with a beginners class or program and slowly work into the poses. If you find a pose uncomfortable or you can not hold it as long as instructed, then stop and wait for the next pose. Your body will become stronger over time if you take it slow, and eventually you may be able to complete those poses you found difficult at the beginning.
Remember to be kind to yourself. Kindness and positive emotions protect and cushion you from the burdens of stress and have been shown to improve physical health and depression. It is really easy to learn to be hard on ourselves, so unlearning self-judgement can be difficult but worthwhile.
By extending kindness and love to ourselves first and foremost, we are able to expand our ability to accept, forgive and love. Positive emotion will naturally grow around you and reduce stress for both yourself and the surrounding people.
So even if you are not doing a pose on your yoga mat, by being kind to yourself regularly, you are doing yoga in one of its most powerful forms.
So go ahead, get your phone out and down load a yoga app today. Comment below how you felt after your session and what poses you liked the most!
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